By Liam Woodworth-Cook
Dear peers, with my utter pleasure I’d like to introduce a new group on campus. Students 4 Democratic Socialism (S4 for short) is a student collective brainstormed by Maximillian Salunek and Carin Dunay, one of our campus librarians (who’s the group’s academic advisor). The goal of this group is to empower student organizing and further outreach/education of socialism and so-called “radical left” politics. One of the first actions of this group was co-hosting the “Feminism For the 99%” contingent at the annual Women’s March on Jan. 19. We were joined by other active socialist groups in Portland, such as the International Socialist Organization and the Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America.
Students 4 also are running a book club every Saturday, 3-5 p.m. in Preble room 205, discussing Marxist texts and theory. All our welcome. The current reading is “The Meaning of Marxism” by Paul D’Amato.
As socialists, we believe in a society run from the bottom up, not the top down. Instead of a even/uneven playing field, we want a community field, to play in, to grow food in, to have fun in. Workers’ rights are one essential aspect of socialism. The unjust accumulation of wealth continuing to be hoarded by the upper classes is a theft of the hard work put in by laboring people. The phrase “owning the means of production” speaks to this very issue. Socialism advocates for the workers to be the owners of the workplace. How about not having a boss and instead making collective choices with your fellow workers?
Socialism, despite many myths, has long roots of organizing in the United States. In fact, the eight-hour work day and the weekend, while not fought for by only socialists, were only achieved from organized workers striking. In the early 1900s Socialist candidates ran for elections in local, state, and national politics across the country. The most famous was Eugene Debs, who ran for president from 1900 to 1920 on the Socialist Party platform.
While aligning against the systematic disenfranchisement of workers under the capitalistic model (classism), we would also like to take a stand against various other “isms” of oppression that intersect under capitalism: racism, trans/homophobia, the patriarchy (male dominance), colonialism and ableism. A large swath of territory to fight against, we hold the elimination of such oppressions to be just and needed for a better world.
We are welcoming to further projects and actions to take part in. Send us your thoughts and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the primary difficulties living under capitalism is the commodification of time; meaning time is valuable, fleeting, and assigned to numerous tasks that are unwanted by us. As students, we are no doubt in engaged in our academic pursuits, with many of us working jobs as well. Thus, committing time can be hard to prioritize. It is also essential for organizing. As we commit to the best of our abilities, we encourage you to do so as well for the cause.
Students 4 Democratic Socialism: An Anti-Capitalist Love Group
By Liam Woodworth-Cook